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Showing posts from November 16, 2019

Selling the Silk Road Spirit

China’s Belt and Road Initiative in Myanmar07 November 2019Policy briefingThis briefing aims to deepen discussion on the Belt and Road Iniatiative (BRI) in Myanmar. The BRI is often described as a ‘grand strategy’ led by President Xi Jinping, centrally planned and rolled out by obedient state-owned enterprises (SOEs). The sheer size of the initiative – 136 countries have received US$90 billion in Chinese foreign direct investment and exchanged US$6 trillion in trade with China - can make the BRI appear monolithic and inevitable. However, using a political economy analysis, this briefing demonstrates that the BRI is not a grand strategy, but a broad framework of activities that seek to address a crisis in Chinese capitalism. An examination of four BRI projects in Myanmar using Chinese language sources shows the extent of lobbying by Chinese SOEs and the Yunnan provincial government to promote the projects, with support from the central Chinese government.ProgrammesMyanmar in FocusDownl…

MAYANMAR: Scrutiny needed to ensure Belt and Road projects are viable, says think-tank

JOHN LIU 15 NOV 2019A file image of the Hambantota port in southern Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka couldn’t repay the loans, and gave China a 99-year lease for debt relief. Photo - BloombergChina’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), seen most visibly in Myanmar through a proposed “economic corridor” between the two countries, requires government and media scrutiny and regulations to ensure projects are done in a socially and environmentally responsible way, an international think-tank says.Transnational Institute, an Amsterdam-based think-tank focused on building a just, democratic and sustainable planet, released a briefing paper this month on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in the Myanmar context.The paper examines four major infrastructure projects in Myanmar: the interconnection of Myanmar and Chinese electricity grids; a proposed railway from Kunming to Kyaukphyu; a land and waterway passage between the two countries, and industrial hubs.“These cases highlight a lack of transparency and me…